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Valentine’s Day 2022: All About Japanese Chocolates, White Day, and more

Valentine’s Day 2022: All About Japanese Chocolates, White Day, and more

In Asia, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in unique ways and on different dates. From the famed Qixi Festival in China to the meaningful chocolates in Japan, all the way to the mass weddings in the Philippines, find out how Asian countries spend February 14.

As a special gift, I’m sharing my 3-ingredient Matcha Infused Chocolate Truffle recipe at the end of this post to help you make Valentine's Day 2022 extra special for you and your perfect match-a!

Valentine's Day in China

In China, there are several celebrations connected to love and romance.

In February, the Chinese Lantern Festival falls close to Valentine’s Day–February 15 to be exact! In the past, curfew was lifted during the Chinese Festival, which allowed singles to meet potential partners while admiring the dragon and lion dances, lanterns, and fireworks.

In more recent times, May 20 is also a popular day for showing off your love. In Mandarin, the pronunciation for “five two zero” is similar to “I love you”. Couples take this as an opportune time to show off their love for their partners on social media or have it as their wedding dates.

The real Chinese Valentine's Day is celebrated in August during the Qixi Festival. This festival celebrates the legendary tale of “The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl”, two star-crossed lovers who were banished to opposite sides of a heavenly river, only reuniting once a year in a bridge formed by a flock of magpies.

During the Qixi Festival, single women often pray to receive the talents of a good spouse and a loving husband. Newlyweds also worship the legendary couple and wish for a happy marriage.

Auspicious food can’t be left out of the festivities! Some popular Qixi Festival food is Qiaoguo pastry made from flour, sugar, sesame, and honey, dumplings, sprouts noodles, glutinous rice sticks, fried bean tea, and more foods that symbolize ingenuity, sweet love, and happy marriage.

Valentine's Day in Japan

In Japan, it is the women who buy gifts for the people they admire on February 14. But some chocolates mean more than others! Here’s a quick guide on Japanese Valentines Chocolate and its meanings so you don’t send mixed signals!

5 Japanese Valentine's Chocolates
and Their Meanings

1. Giri-choko (Obligatory chocolate) - Given to coworkers, friends, and bosses out of courtesy.

2. Cho-giri choko - Unlike giri-choko, this focuses on the obligatory part where the chocolate is given to someone you don’t know or aren’t necessarily fond of. Typically, ladies bring a box of this to be casually passed around in the office.

3. Honmei-choko (True love chocolate) - Given to those whom you have a romantic interest with, namely a husband, boyfriend, and even a romantic crush as a form of confession. Some even make homemade honmei-choko to make it more heartfelt!

4. Tomo-choco (Friend chocolate) - Usually shared among female friends as a sign of friendship and appreciation.

5. Jibun-choco (Myself chocolate) - Bought and enjoyed for oneself because if it’s anyone you should love more, it’s yourself!

BONUS: Gyaku-choco - Meaning reverse chocolate, this is given by men to women during March 14 which is White Day in Japan

Nowadays, this tradition has seen a decline in Japan due to societal pressures that it imposes on women. Whether you choose to give, receive, or pass up on this practice altogether, make sure to keep Valentine's Day sweet, sincere, and consensual!

Valentine's Day in Taiwan

Taiwan spends Valentine’s Day like most countries do but on March 14, it’s the ladies' turn to give gifts to men. Celebrating the day of hearts in the boba tea capital of the world may seem unoriginal but making homemade boba tea as a couple is a simple yet meaningful bonding activity for couples!

4 Instant Coffee Dessert Drinks for Valentine's Day
Ocean Bomb Brown Sugar Bubble Milk Tea for Your Unending Tea Thirst

Valentine's Day in South Korea

Korean Hotteok:
A sweet DIY Valentine's Day gift to show your warm affection

Just like in Japan, it’s the ladies that give presents to men during Valentine’s Day, while the men return with presents on White Day on March 14.

However, Korea celebrates love all throughout the year– 14 different ways and shades to be exact! While there is White Day, there’s also Black Day in April where singles embrace their relationship status by eating black bean noodles, Rose or Yellow Day where couples celebrate love during the full bloom of May flowers, Silver Day in July where promise rings are exchanged, Green Day in August where picnic dates are popular, and so much more!

Valentine's Day in The Philippines

In the Philippines, couples share more than just chocolates and flowers. They share their vows and “I do’s” as government-sponsored mass weddings are held on February 14 across the country.

It’s also one of the most commercialized holidays in the country. Restaurants are typically fully booked even before the week of Valentine’s Day. Instead of waiting long hours for a seat at a restaurant or watching other lovey-dovey couples left and right, why not go for a sweet and simple romantic dinner at home! A homecooked dinner is a surefire way to make your partner’s heart race–as long as it tastes good, of course!

If you’re looking for food to make for Valentine’s Day, I have a complete playlist of recipes that are easy to make yet sure to impress!

This Valentine’s Day, don’t feel pressured about preparing grand gifts, buying the most expensive chocolate, or booking the best restaurants. Simple and sincere efforts go a long way. Make it a sweet February 14 by recreating your favorite Asian recipes at home with your significant other or making your own chocolate to share or to enjoy by yourself! You do you!

For more Asian grocery food you’ll love, shop at Karman Foods!

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